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Optimizing the Jobless Interval in Your Life

Jobseekers sometimes worry they may be passed over for a job because they’ve been unemployed “too long”.  A six month job search is not uncommon yet that gap may create a negative image for some hiring managers.  To strengthen your resume and your position with the interviewer you will need a viable story that delivers your true value and promise of what you can do for the company.


Here are some  activities that will give you fresh success stories as well as put you in regular contact with people who may help you with your job search:

  • Volunteer for a worthy cause in a non-profit organization. In this role you’ll have a greater chance to network and make valuable connections.
  • Survey your strongest skills and devise a plan for keeping current with the industry trends that influence how they are used.
  • Have you been considering going back to school? Finishing a degree? Perhaps now is the time.
  • Join organizations important to your industry and become an active participant in their initiatives.
  • Seek an internship where you can stay in the game and partner with people who are willing to share their experience and mentor you.



Enter each opportunity with two goals: To build new success stories you can share on your resume and in interviews and to build your network meeting new people and letting them see your value.

2 Comments

  1. Posted April 2, 2010 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    The reason candidates are out of work “so long” is because it takes companies “so long” to hire someone. At a minimum, it takes 12 weeks, as follows:

    Week one: develop and circulate the job description.

    Weeks two and three: collect resumes. (If the job must first be advertised internally, add two weeks to the cycle. If it is advertised for more than two weeks, add that amount to the cycle.)

    Week four: sort resumes and select ten candidates; notify those who do not qualify.

    Week five: schedule interviews with candidates.

    Weeks six and seven: meet with candidates.

    Week eight: narrow the field.

    Week nine: bring in the top three candidates

    Week ten: select top candidate, extend offer and negotiate with candidate; candidate accepts offer; notify other candidates.

    Weeks eleven and twelve: candidate gives two weeks’ notice. (If the candidate takes vacation before the start date, add another week.)

    Twelve weeks at a minimum, and that mean everything goes according to plan. All the key players are in the office. No one is traveling, or out sick, or taking a child or pet or parent to the doctor, or attending a sports game or school play. No member of the group is too busy to give their attention to the important matter of bringing on a new team member. Every person involved wants to lighten the weight of the world on everyone’s shoulders. All the interviewers and the candidates have mutually convenient schedules. Twelve weeks is three months is one fiscal quarter.

    Before characterizing a candidate as on the market for “so long,” HR and hiring manager should take a look in the mirror and ask themselves how long it has taken them to put the candidate in the interview chair.

  2. Marcella Van Oel, Content Manager
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Janet,
    I can’t thank you enough for your reply. I’d say your timeline is accurate based on what I’ve seen, too. Employers know it’s a buyers market. Sometimes I’m dismayed by the stories I hear of basic courtesy being ignored. All that means is that now more than ever the job seeker has to rise to the occasion no matter what the circumstance. Those seeking work will be so much better off if they can avoid the potential cynicism that may come from these experiences.

    All the best,
    Marcella

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  1. [...] on a “job”. That job may be volunteering, interning, learning or mentoring. Committing to real work, even if unpaid, helps you build resume items and is a powerful way to network with people who may [...]

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